A lot has gone wrong for the 2009-2010 Boston Bruins. Opening Night 2009 was on October 1, 2009 vs the Washington Capitals. The Capitals won, 4-1. Now the Bruins are in the second round. And the Caps… Lost to the eight seed Montreal Canadiens.
As much that has gone wrong, (where to start?) so much has gone right. It all started the night Bruins leading goalscorer Phil Kessel was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first and second round draft pick this year, and a first round pick the next. Kessel was coming off labrum surgery in the offseason, so his season did not begin until November. He still had more goals than any Bruins player.
The Bruins where coming off a season where they lost veterans Aaron Ward, Shane Hnidy, Manny Fernandez, Stephane Yelle, PJ Axelsson, and later Chuck Kobasew. They brought in Derrek Morris, Steve Begin, and Daniel Paille.
More went wrong when it was announced five games into the that Kobasew had been traded to Minnesota, but also Milan Lucic had broke his finger. Things got worse when Marc Savard aggravated a broken foot before a game vs Nashville.
The Bruins goal after that was to tread water. They learned early they would not be that offensive juggernaut that got them to first overall in the east the season before. They would have to be more like the 2007-2008 Bruins who took the number one Canadiens seven games. The Bruins got Lucic back in late November vs Atlanta. Savard returned four games later in Minnesota, a game that was won in a shootout. But Lucic was re-injured when he took an awkward pass from Dennis Wideman, and he had a high-ankle sprain.
December would be highlited be the return of Phil Kessel to Boston. The Bruins won, 5-2, with Savard’s hat trick. Going into late December, many worried about the Bruins getting distracted by the upcoming winter classic at Fenway park. They showed this losses to their opponet, the Flyers, and a heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where Bill Guerin scored with 0.4 left in the game to tie it. After that Tuukka Rask, a rookie goaltender, started eight straight games opposed to last year’s Vezina trophey winner Tim Thomas.
Thomas was in net for the Winter Classic, and he was the biggest reason they won. The Bruins where down 1-0 with time ticking off the third period clock, and most where thinking “here we go again”. But Derrek Morris made a bueatiful slap-pass that Mark Recchi tipped in to tie it. It would be the second of the three Winter Classics to go to Overtime. The Bruins started off on the power play, but could not score. Thomas then made a fluery of saves the other way. Bruins MVP of the season Patrice Bergeron made a pass to Marco Sturm, which he tipped in. The Bruins did not know that would be the last home game they would win into Febuary.
A few nights later the Bruins misfourtone returned, when 22 seconds into the the game Savard injured his knee. It was revealed he had a torn MCL. In the stretch of his abscence, the Bruins went on a 10 game winless streak, started by a shootout loss in Los Angeles. The Bruins did get Savard back in Buffalo, a game where it showed how much the Bruins missed him, but they lost, 2-1. More bad news would erupt when rookie defenseman Johnny Boychuk was hit in the face by a puck vs the Vancouver Canucks. However, the winless streak would be snapped the next day in Montreal, Super Bowl Sunday.
The Bruins went on a four game winning streak before the olympics, all road games, in Montreal, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and Florida. Six Bruins would go to the Olympics: Thomas (USA), Bergeron (Canada), Zdeno Chara and Miroslav Satan (Slovakia), David Krejci (Czech Republic), and Sturm (Germany).
After the Olympics, the Bruins hit another tough stretch. They lost their first night back on home ice to the Canadiens, 4-1. The Bruins bounced back in games vs Toronto and the Islanders before things would take a turn for the worst. In a game vs the Pittsburgh Penguins the next day, Matt Cooke, a known cheapshot artist around the league, concussed the Bruins best player in Savard. He would need a stretcher off the ice, and would be out indefinetly. Cooke was not suspended by the league. There was a lot of aftermath to follow the incident, from Bruins coach Claude Jullian and GM Peter Charelli stating their displeasure, to former Bruins coach and now Hockey Night in Canada host Don Cherry bashing Cooke. The Bruins would meet the Penguins again on March 18, eleven days after the hit. The Bruins lost, 3-0 in a completey heartless game where many wrote the Bruins off afterward. But the Bruins continued their theme of the season and never said die.
Two days later they would face a team fightning them for a playoff spot, the New York Rangers. The Bruins beat them, and then the Atlanta Thrashers, in convincing victories. Later, they would lose to the Lightning in maybe their best effort all season. But they never said die.
In turned around on March 30, when the Bruins beat the New Jersey Devils in OT. After that they gained points in every game but one.
That’s when the good luck began to turn their way. The Bruins finished as the nukber six seed in the east, with a matchup with the Buffalo Sabres. They got the number two draft pick overall, thanks to Toronto. They beat Buffalo in six games, and would have their star playmaker Savard return. And they would have home ice vs the Philadelphia Flyers.
The season is far from over, but it’s hard to not appriciate what the Bruins have overcome this season. Sometimes good things come to those who wait. Maybe that will be the case for the Bruins. Or maybe their new hope will be shatered. Hopefully the former will come true, but either way, the Bruins have already amazed many. They never said die.